We study our specie. Why we do that? Than we can study why we study our specie. Why we do that? We can go into an infinite studying process of ourselves which leads in meeting absurd. I find it hard expressing well my thoughts in English as long it is not my native language but I'm working in it. To me it looks like an interesting but paradoxical process of knowing about maybe the hardest question of our specie What it means being an human? 

Views: 196

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Mentor, thanks for bringing us back to this most fundamental of anthropological questions. There are several approaches to consider. 

  1. Contrasting humans with other animals: pointing to language or tools as distinctive features of H. sapiens. 
  2. Beginning with the fact that humans are born as radically incomplete animals, unable to survive on their own: pointing to the proposition that it is impossible to be human without being some culturally specific type of human.
  3. Integrating 1. and 2. My favorite here is Clyde Kluckhohn's observation that all human beings are (a) in some respects like all other human beings, (b) in other respects like some other human beings, and (c) in many respects uniquely themselves. 
  4. Philosophical approaches that look back to precursors of anthropology and draw ethical or moral conclusions from assumptions held to be true of all human beings. In the Western tradition, Aristotle's idea that humanity combines vegetative, animal and rational functions of which the rational is distinctive of humanity is one familiar starting point. Our leader Keith Hart looks back to Kant in search of moral and political principles that apply to all human beings. A more pessimistic view uncomfortably close to item 2 in the list above can be found in this piece on Oswald Spengler by the conservative pundit Robert Merry.

John, thank you for your answer. My very absurd problem is why we that are interested in anthropology find ourselves naturally curious in our nature. Does it have to do something that we can not cope with it and flow normally and accept life how it is? What are the primary causes that a human being tend to study himself? Sometimes it looks to me like deviating from normal rhythm of life. Well it's fascinating but still i can't tell why we do that? Hope you have nice time

What is a human being is the key question of philosophical anthropology, if not of the ordinary academic kind. But you seem to want to know why we study ourselves. At one level, "we" study everything that affects human life in society and a lot that doesn't. But most of humanity don't make a practice of studying anything and, of those who do, a minute portion study people. Maybe you should pose the question to individuals who have made a study of human beings. Ask them why they do it and whetehr they think it has anything to do with the question "What is a human being?"

I became an anthropologist because studying Latin and Greek seemed like a dead end and anthropology looked like sociology with travel thrown in. Many many years later I discovered the philosophers of the liberal Enlightenment and felt that their notion of of anthropology as knowledge necessary for a democratic revolution might be a good idea for us now.

Thanks in any case for bringing it up and I hope you will persevere with our difficult language.

Mentor, what would count as a good explanation? It occurs to me that we need something along the lines of Howard Becker's analysis of addiction, which accounts for why, as both you and Keith observe, most people aren't like us. Becker observed that no one sets out to become an alcoholic or drug addict. They become alcoholics or addicts in small steps in each of which the the temptation involves what appears to be a small downside compared to the pleasure on offer. Frequently, moreover, the pleasure on offer is social as well as physical. Thus, for example, hanging out in bars with football or rugby players can lead to binge drinking perceived as being one of the guys.

What is it about us anthropologists? We start out (as mentioned in 2 in my previous comment), incomplete animals, like all other humans. We share common human preoccupations with who we are and what's it all about. We may, as the result of our genes or child-rearing, find ourselves more at odds with the world around us than our peers appear to be (in my case, I was short, fat, astigmatic, a momma's boy and teacher's pet). Others in our situation may find themselves drawn to art, music, other sciences or engineering. We, through taking a class or some other connection, fall into the company of anthropologists. Then, assuming we stop short of nervous breakdown, one day we find ourselves addicted.

That is my story. What is your's?

To Keith:
Hi, it’s interesting ‘Sociology with travel thrown in.’ Yes what i want to know is: Why we study ourselves. I find it right going in the root nature of things to find appropriate conclusion. Pursuing knowledge of why we study everything and in the most interesting(maybe to all anthropologists) case ourselves can lead us to an infinite stages of studying. I used "we" meaning of people who really are into it. Study human. Human studies his cultural history to come through to meet himself in a certain point of it’s flow. Than he can study why he, a member of human specie started to study his own primates. Why he had to worry on why he started to study himself? You look like a studios man so I’ll pose you the question why have you chosen to study your own specie? Thank you and good luck

Thank you, I think I’m doing well with English improvement and find it pleasant and interesting to express.
  
To John:
Hi, I want to find essence of things. I find interesting all of your explanations.It's my first time knowing Clyde Kluckhohn's observation and it's really good one. I was a kid thinking of world like a transitional phase which soon will turn to a cooler condition. It turned out the all way around. World is a chaos of chaos. Heraclitus said 'Nothing endures but change' and this looks to me the only truth. Science looks to me the most sincere speculation. Thinking of just the variation of aspects we are different from other people it's amazing. Literature is the most pleasant passion known to me. I'm literature addict. I hate conventional school in which i was raised. I have read some of Becker's Becoming a Marijuana User because I was one. I like the version of addiction on anthropology. It seems like choosing to live in a beautiful tale of solitary. I read from your discussion on 'Why are anthropologist such solitary creatures?' and liked it. It looked to me somehow resembles of what i have thought on 'Does it have to do something that we can not cope with it and flow normally and accept life how it is?. I find your story interesting and bit cliche seen on movies. Were you happy at those times? How it is now that you study yourself as a vocation? 

"Science looks to me [to be]the most sincere speculation.” A beautiful and compelling thought.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Translate

OAC Press

@OpenAnthCoop

Events

© 2019   Created by Keith Hart.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service